By Betty A. Proctor, Chattanooga State
Nathan Smith took a series of jobs after earning his bachelor’s in sociology, but the jobs had little to do with his degree and he felt the need to try something else. After some inward reflection, Nathan realized he always had a love of storytelling and a “bit of flair” for the dramatic. Armed with this knowledge, he did some research and happened upon Chattanooga State’s Media Technologies program. Following a meeting with program director Chris Willis, he realized that this was his next path and what he was meant to do.
The Digital Media Design and Production Associate of Applied Science degree is for students interested in a career as a media technician, production technician, digital media specialist, and support technician. Smith says the program provided many unique opportunities and that he wrote, directed, shot and produced several short films, music videos and completed other projects. He won an award for one of his films during his very first year in the program.
Easing into the second year of the program, Nathan interned at WTCI where he gained real-world videography and editing experience. “Media Tech also helped me get my foot in the door at WTVC, NewsChannel9,” states Smith. “The instruction and experience I got from Chris Willis, Angela McClister, and others gave me the boost I needed to put myself out there, become a filmmaker, and work my way to where I am today,” he adds.
Today, Smith is a full-time digital content producer at NewsChannel9, but just prior to that he was hired as a part-time production assistant at the station while still in school. Nathan says he wears a lot of hats in his position that mainly consists of gathering news, writing and editing for their website, and sharing content with viewers on social media pages and the NewsChannel9 app. Nathan says that sharing content on social media and their app, “involves a lot of creativity, reading and rereading articles for accuracy, and a knowledge of the people interacting with our content – and it helps to have a sense of humor, an appreciation for alliteration, and the grace to take it one day at a time.”
Looking back on his ChattState experience, Nathan says that the Media Technologies program gave him many opportunities to express himself creatively and work under pressure, while learning about prioritizing his time where minutes matter. “The subject matter I work with now is different for sure, but my love of storytelling has only gotten stronger having moved into the news industry,” states Smith. He also really enjoyed being a part of the Media Club. “When you’re learning something like film and television, what you need just as much as knowhow, is experience working with others, and the Media Club gave me those opportunities in spades. I was able to stretch my abilities, offer help where it was needed, and even served as the club’s vice president for a bit,” he says.
Nathan says that Chattanooga State’s Digital Media Design and Production program is an “incredibly economical way” to learn the ins and out of filmmaking, TV and radio production, as well as one of the best he could recommend, with patient and helpful teachers and access to equipment that he would have had to spend a fortune to acquire anywhere else. Smith emphasizes that, “The program is solid and affordable, and the creativity you bring to the table is not only encouraged, but given the opportunity to thrive and shine. I met and befriended some of the most talented creatives in the Chattanooga area during my time at the school, and I continue working on film sets with them to this day as a result.”
For more information about the Media Technologies program contact the Business Division at (423) 697-4441 or visit https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/business.